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Proper Recovery from Workouts

Proper Recovery from Workouts

When working on your fitness, the focus usually falls on the activity. How long should you work out? What activity will get the right results? How often do I go to the gym? But in a balanced workout regiment, recovery is just as important as the exercise itself. To stay healthy and keep progress moving forward, proper recovery from workouts needs to be considered.

Once proper recovery from workouts becomes a priority in your exercise routine, you might find yourself experiencing some of the benefits like:

  • Your performance improves.
  • You have less muscle soreness.
  • You experience less fatigue.
  • You avoid injury.
  • You enjoy your workouts more.

If you’re looking to build muscle, the real growth comes AFTER the workout. Your body remains the tissue you stressed during the workout by building more muscle tissue. Proper recovery aids the muscle building process along. To experience the many benefits, it’s necessary build recovery into your workout plans. Here are some tips for the proper recovery from workouts.

Tips for Proper Recovery from Workouts

Stretch. Stretching after a workout is relieving tight muscles, reducing soreness, improving flexibility, and increasing range of motion. It’s the perfect counterbalance to the contracting your muscles perform during a workout -- a long stretch and release. Post workout is the best time for static stretching -- where you hold each posture for a recommending 4 to 20 seconds -- because your muscles are warmed up and open to release. For some ideas, try these post-workout stretching ideas. Aim for 10-20 minutes of stretching at the end of each workout. To stick with the stretching, include stretch time when you are scheduling your workouts.

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Keep your compression garments on. Compression garments (like our Elbow Compression Sleeve) are growing in popularity for fitness fanatics for their benefits during exercise, but did you know that a solid percentage of benefits of compression occur when you wear the products after the workout? Compression products help maintain a high level of circulation -- both of blood and the lymph system. This helps flush out things like lactic acid -- the main culprit in muscle soreness -- from the muscles. The extra support to joints and muscles from compression garments can also help to prevent injury from overuse. You’ll be less likely to use bad form post-workout -- an easy thing to do when you’re exhausted from exercise -- because the compression keeps you in alignment.

Schedule your rest. Your body needs days of rest in-between your workouts to maximize your progress and reduce the risk of injury. When planning your workouts, schedule in days (or even a week, depending on your goals) to rest and recover. While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to schedule active recovery workouts -- like yoga, pilates, or walking -- that keep your blood pumping without too much strain on the body. A general rule of thumb to follow is schedule at least one full day of recovery a week -- and never do the same exercise two days back-to-back.

Fuel your body with proper nutrients.  What you eat all day is important, but what you put into your body post-workout can make a big difference in your recovery. Immediately after a workout, protein is more readily absorbed, so it’s a good time to have a protein shake or a protein rich snack. Minerals are critical to avoiding muscle soreness and cramps -- particularly sodium and potassium. Sodium and potassium play a key role in keeping the fluid levels in your cells balanced -- so it’s as important to get enough minerals as it is to drink enough water. A drink with electrolytes (sodium) paired with a banana (high in potassium) should put you on the right track to proper hydration.

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Drink water. Now that you have fueled your body with the right balance of minerals, it’s important to drink enough water. Water is critical in so many bodily functions, it’s a non-negotiable part of post-workout recovery. If you have a particularly sweaty workout -- from intense cardio or hot weather -- drink a little bit extra to make up for fluid lost.

Listen to calming music. The right music. We all have songs that pump us up and motivate us to crush an intense workout. After that workout, we can also use music as a tool to recover. Listening to calming music -- whatever that means to you -- can reduce blood pressure and slow back down the heart rate. Consider switching the playlist as you do your cool down or stretching routine.

Get a massage. Sometimes the muscles need a little extra help after tough workouts. Massage can be a tremendous help in alleviating muscles soreness and speeding up recovery. The method can be switched depending on your preferences and lifestyles -- a massage from a licensed massage therapist, self-massage, or tools like foam rollers. No matter the method, massage helps improve circulation to muscles and release tension. Massage is a great way to supplement the other post-workout routines for compressive recovery care.

The most important thing to proper recovery from workouts is to listen to you body. If it’s telling you it needs more help to recover -- give it to it. Find the right compression garment. Build a soothing post-workout playlist. Schedule that massage -- bonus points if it’s on a recovery day! You’ll be happier and healthier with proper recovery from workouts -- and you’ll get more from the workouts when you return.

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